Through our work with the Domestic Violence Project we have become aware that children – who make up over half of the population of most domestic violence shelters – are grossly under-served. While some shelters offer limited services for children, many of their needs are not being met. To address this issue, we are seeking support to develop MyMoves!, a new program designed specifically for children in domestic violence shelters.
This gift will allow a dancer to teach one children's workshop in a domestic violence shelter. Through consistent and concentrated yearlong programming in these shelters, with 6-10 children in each workshop, we will reach over 2,000 children. MyMoves! offers a high-quality program of workshops to help children develop self-confidence and life skills such as creative problem solving, concentration, collaboration and communication. We have learned through our work with children, as well as through training received from Sanctuary for Families and Safe Horizon, that one of the most important goals of working with traumatized children is helping them to develop a "sense of agency" – the belief that they have control of their environment. This can be accomplished by presenting structures and opportunities in which they can make choices and actively participate. The ability to make choices strengthens the sense of empowerment, and helps traumatized children move beyond the feeling of powerlessness prevalent in abusive families.